This study was designed to involve a variety of research methods, resulting in a mixed methods, case study approach to investigate best teaching practices in an elementary blended learning environment. The research-based evaluation work of Charlotte Danielson was incorporated as the theoretical framework for this research. Differing methods of tablet use were observed in 10 classrooms while data was collected on student engagement. Blended learning is among best teaching practices, though surprisingly, educators in this study were not familiar with blended learning models and techniques. The term "blended learning" in the context of this K-5 study meant utilizing different technology devices as a means to enhance teaching. Many educators are utilizing tablets in their classrooms on a daily basis without adequate professional development. The influx of tablets in America's schools has not been well planned nor have professional development opportunities provided teachers with the necessary training to fully implement and integrate best practice in their classrooms. Findings from this study help fill the gap in elementary level and rural area schools. Results from this research indicate that blended learning tools enrich the elementary school classroom. Tablet usage in this study demonstrated seamless bridging for all levels of academic achievement. Students were observed utilizing metacognitive skills when collaborating with their peers and demonstrating their learning through projects on their tablets. Three themes emerged from the interview data. First, blended learning and the integration of technology as a best practice supports current literature. The second theme involved professional development, including teachers' desire for both building- and district-level support as well as the frequency of professional development, and teacher technology support. And third, the school is the vehicle for teacher collaboration, differentiation for students, and engagement of students.
|Commitee:||Kellerer, Eric, Kellerer, Paula, Slemmer, Duane, Werth, Loredana|
|School:||Northwest Nazarene University|
|School Location:||United States -- Idaho|
|Source:||DAI-A 76/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Educational leadership, Information Technology, School administration, Teacher education|
|Keywords:||Best practices, Blended learning, Education, Elementary education, Student engagement, Technology|
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